Aaron Watkins


Sears Building 573

Aaron Watkins is using the Burrell Schmidt telescope to study the properties of the stars that shouldn’t be there: populations of stars living far beyond where they should be able to form.  In the hierarchical accretion paradigm, galaxies are thought to form inside-out, and hence the most recent signs of galaxy formation should appear in the outskirts.  However, deep imaging of these faint outer regions typically reveals mostly old stars, which seem to be older the farther out they are, and few or no signs of recent star formation.  Aaron uses the ultra-deep, wide-field Burrell Schmidt imaging — in both broadband and Halpha filters — in conjunction with HI, IR, and ultraviolet archival data to learn more about these peculiar stellar populations: their ages and metallicities, their connection to the more turbulent inner disk, and their connection to the local environment.  He is advised by Chris Mihos.